This episode will be published the day before Thanksgiving. Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving day is historically a time set aside to give thanks for the blessings in our lives, like our family, friends, and provision for our needs. We don’t need to wait for a holiday to give thanks, though. Given the difficult year many of us have experienced, this holiday is a good reminder of how important it is to give thanks every day.
Give thanks every day, not just on Thanksgiving
Giving thanks and feeling grateful each day is important. And it's good for us. Our mental and physical health benefits from us being thankful for all that we have. During these challenging times, if you start to feel sad or frustrated, remember that you can turn your day around simply by choosing to be grateful.
"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings."
~ William Arthur Ward, writer
5 ways being thankful is good for you (per studies cited in 5 Reasons Giving Thanks is Good for You):
* Counting blessings boosts your health. Research showed that grateful people had less depression and stress, lower blood pressure, more energy, and greater optimism.
* Slow down the aging clock. Studies have shown that in older adults, a daily practice of gratitude even slowed down some of the effects of neurodegeneration that often occurs as we age.
* Put the brakes on stress. Cortisol is often called the “stress hormone,” and when our bodies produce too much, it can deplete the immune system and raise blood sugar levels. A study conducted at the Institute of HeartMath Research Center in California found that positive emotions like appreciation significantly lowered levels of cortisol.
* Being thankful helps you bond. Research (by U.S. psychologists Sara Algoe and Baldwin Way) indicates that gratitude can also lead to better relationships. The explanation may be connected to increased production of oxytocin, sometimes called the “bonding hormone” because it fosters calm and security in relationships.
* Gratefulness = good for the heart and waistline? According to (some) research, people with high blood pressure who actively express thankfulness “can achieve up to a 10 percent reduction in systolic blood pressure and decrease their dietary fat intake by up to 20 percent.”
We’ve talked in the past about the positive effects gratitude can have on our life, our health, and more. Check out TPW167 (Gratitude & Productivity); TPW270 (Gratitude); and TPW311 (our conversation with Autumn McKay about Practicing Gratitude)
Some thoughts others have had about the importance of giving thanks:
"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." ~ Oprah Winfrey
"We would worry less if we praised more.